Being in Level 3 has allowed a small number of staff to head back into MTG Hawke’s Bay and start making changes in preparation for reopening at Level 2. This includes putting additional protection measures in place and removing some interactives from galleries to ensure we are doing what we can to make the place as safe as possible for our visitors. The team are looking forward to the day we’re open again, and can welcome you back to your museum.
Through this time, I’ve realised the value of things many may have taken for granted. I’m reasonably sure everyone will have recognised the value of medical personnel and food suppliers (from growers through to retail outlets) at this time but there have been other vital industries that we may not have thought about. Napier Port has kept products and supplies coming into the region, IT infrastructure and service providers have enabled many to work productively from home and Councils have been proactive in the welfare space – checking on the elderly and vulnerable to ensure people have the essential services and supplies they need.
Now, as we work our way back through the levels, our recovery needs to attend to the entirety of our region’s health and wellbeing – this includes economic, social, emotional, cultural and mental wellbeing. Coming out of this experience, like many, I am hoping to keep some lifestyle choices I’ve made in place. To remember and treasure the time with family, to appreciate the support I both gave and received from friends, family and colleagues. I want to maintain this stronger sense of connection and caring on the other side of this Covid-19 experience - to not lose those learnings.
I hope we will all want to keep and deepen our sense of empathy and understanding for those around us. I hope also that we do what we can to help individuals, businesses and the economy recover. Many people will have struggled financially, emotionally and mentally during lockdown and many will struggle out of lockdown. So how can we help? We can support Hawke’s Bay businesses to help them get up and running – we can buy and promote local products and services through social media, recommend local businesses to friends and support the many initiatives people are coming up with. The sooner businesses heal the sooner the economy grows - which ultimately helps us all.
Local businesses employ local people and when they get back on their feet the community gets back on its feet. As consumers, we all have choices to make about where we spend our money and I’m going to do what I can to support local businesses. I’ll be paying a lot more attention to where my dollar goes and if there is a local option I’ll be choosing that and specifically support the particular businesses I love (and there are a lot of them!) We have some really great businesses in Hawke’s Bay and I hope the community will pull together to support them.
Recovery is important and part of that is the social, cultural, spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing of the community. Arts and culture can help people feel reconnected. It provides a way to reflect on and make sense of what has happened, creating community belonging in the process.
Napier City Council is keen that the city return to an environment where its economy and people thrive and MTG Hawke’s Bay is playing its part in that. We’re looking towards making events and activities to support this aim. New programmes that put life and vitality into the city and provide opportunities to reconnect and share. These are things that will help the community heal and rebuild. I’m sure that Councils throughout the region are all working on ideas and projects that will help and support their communities. Hawke’s Bay is in this together and I know that with kindness, empathy, consideration and deliberate action we can, together, make the region strong and vibrant.
So as we prepare to move to into Level 2 and reflect on the way the lockdown has impacted on our values and priorities, let’s throw our support behind that which we cherish. In supporting each other, by valuing this place, its past and its uniqueness, we’ll build an even stronger future together.
11 May 2020
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